Dr. Michael Caparrelli spent 100 hours with David Berkowitz, once known as the “Son of Sam” killer. In today’s episode, they discuss Berkowitz’s transformation from a serial killer into the remorseful, service-oriented individual and born-again Christian he is today. All of this suggests that during his time in prison, he became a different person, indicating that profound rehabilitation is possible even for those who have committed heinous acts.

Dr. Caparrelli explains that through his pastoral and academic experience, he aims to humanize individuals like Berkowitz to understand the factors leading to such violence and possibly prevent future crimes. He is the author of “Monster Mirror: 100 Hours with David Berkowitz, Once Known as Son of Sam,” about his extensive interviews with the infamous serial killer, focusing on the psychological and humanitarian aspects rather than the crimes themselves.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli

Michael Caparrelli was a pastor for 16 years who shepherded an inner-city church in Rhode Island that served as a hospital for the mentally ill. His church offered a variety of support groups for people with depression, anxiety, addictions, and grief. He also worked within three prisons as an advocate and counselor for inmates.

He now has a PhD in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior and continues his passion through lectures on mental health from a faith-based perspective.

He authored 5 books on mental health and travels the nation speaking on this subject within churches, rehabilitation centers, prisons, and schools. He has traveled 18 states and 3 nations over the past few years.

He is a professor of behavioral science at two colleges — Northpoint in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and Manchester Community College in New Hampshire.

Most recently, he conducted a 100-hour case study on David Berkowitz, once known as the “Son of Sam.” He met with David for 34 sessions to explore the mental health factors behind violence as well as his life of sobriety in prison now. This case study was recently published in a book, “Monster Mirror,” which ranked No. 1 New Release in True Crime on Amazon in October.

Gabe Howard

Our host, Gabe Howard, is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, “Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations,” available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author.

Gabe makes his home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. He lives with his supportive wife, Kendall, and a Miniature Schnauzer dog that he never wanted, but now can’t imagine life without.

To book Gabe for your next event or learn more about him, please visit gabehoward.com.

Producer’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Announcer: You’re listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast where experts share experiences and the latest thinking on mental health and psychology. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.

Gabe Howard: Thanks for listening. I’m your host, Gabe Howard. Calling in to the show today, we have the author of “Monster Mirror: 100 Hours with David Berkowitz, Once Known as Son of Sam,” Michael Caparrelli. Michael, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Gabe, thank you for having me on. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Gabe Howard: I have to tell you, as a podcast host, there is only one constant in podcasting, true crime podcasts are the top category and people absolutely love them. Everything else changes on a whim. I can’t give people advice to save my life because by the time I answer the email, everything is different. But true crime has managed to just really saturate the public consciousness. Now, the vast majority of true crime podcasters, however, they don’t, they don’t really speak with the murderer. They don’t, they don’t speak with the person who perpetrated the crime. But Michael, you have talked with Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz on multiple occasions. I just have to ask before we get into the meat of the interview, how did that happen? It’s not like you can just, you know, Facebook him and set up a lunch date.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Well, my qualifications set the stage. First and foremost, I was a pastor of a church for about 16 years, heavily involved in prison ministry. So I had a compassion towards those locked away. Probably began as a young kid when I visited my dad behind bars and Italian American families, the euphemism when dad goes away to prison is school. My mother used to tell me he was in school. We were going for visits to the college, so I had a compassion towards inmates with my ministry. But then also I’m a PhD in behavioral science. I teach at three colleges. I’m a professor of criminal psychology, abnormal psychology all the ologies on human behavior. So with those two sets of qualifications, I had mailed David Berkowitz a copy of a book that I had written previously on mental health, but more from a Christian perspective. Lots of science, but yet still supplemented by spirituality. He read the book. In about two weeks after my initial letter to him, responded back and said he’d love for me to come visit. And when I visited him, it was the first session amongst 34 sessions, face to face three, 3.5 hours each session a total of 100 hours. And it was the case study that started on the mental health factors behind his serial killings, as well as his life behind bars over the last 46 years.

Gabe Howard: One of the first things that I noticed about you is you, you speak of this person, the Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz, very fondly. The rest of us, the rest of society, we just know him as a murderer. He’s a he’s a killer. He’s someone who ended people’s lives. It’s fascinating to me that your perspective is just so very different from arguably every other person on the planet.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: I mean, yeah, you’re right. The culture mythologizes those that commit these heinous crimes. And no disrespect to the victims of their families. I mean, what David did was barbaric. Breaks my heart. But I’m on the other side of this, dealing with an inmate who’s been behind bars for 46 years. So he’s faced his consequences. And my job in this book was to humanize rather than mythologize this so-called monster. Why? Because partly because I’m a, I’m a Christian myself. And I don’t believe it’s my job or anybody’s job to throw stones. But secondarily, we live in a day and age where we tend to believe psychopaths are other people. Other people will shoot up schools, not my kids. Other people commit homicide, not me. Well, there are no other people. And I wanted to take the horns off this man named David Berkowitz so the average reader could relate and maybe even prevent their child from going down the same path. I mean, the reality is there are 13 mass shootings a week in America. That’s a staggering statistic. 13 a week, school shootings, mall shootings. And every time something happens, family and friends always say, or more often than not, I would have never imagined my son to have done something like this. So I think we’ve got it pretty wrong on what these types of people are like. We think of them as a separate breed of people, and one of the main presuppositions of this book is that there is an inherent psychopathy in everyone. And if you spend six months brooding over all your resentments, you know, six months berating yourself, six months isolating, six months justifying every wrong thing you do, you’d be shocked at what you might evolve into. So you’re right. I took a more humane approach in analyzing David Berkowitz. Number one, because of the compassion of Christ. But then, number two, I felt it was more useful for the reader rather than seeing this as another person, but seeing this as maybe the boy next door.

Gabe Howard: As I. As I’m listening to you talk, I know the importance of this. I’m not trying to compare mental health issues and addiction to murder. I want to make sure the listeners understand that. But I know that when I work with people who have mental health and addiction issues, they’ve really alienated their families, and their families don’t want to help them at all. And they’ve well, just if I can be blunt, they’ve pissed off quite a few people and those people no longer want them in their lives. And I know that that we need to be compassionate towards them. We need to provide them resources or they will just, continue to be frank, pissing people off for the rest of their lives. But this is murder. I just, I, I, I, I some people believe that that that you should just throw away the key. There’s nothing that could be done. And we see it all the time. You know, all murderers should get the death penalty always. There’s no there’s no hope for them. Once a murderer, always a murderer. Is it? Is it hard to hear people talk about that and do what you do? I do see the value in the human approach to working with people who, in your words, committed barbaric crimes because we don’t want them to do it again. And we want to learn from it and understand what made it happen. But there is this part of me and of many people in America that are just like, dude, you’ve got to throw away the key and move on. Can’t you use your time to help people more deserving?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: You know, you raise a great point. First of all, let me say nobody’s arguing that David Berkowitz should be released from prison. David himself has accepted his sentence. He’s been behind bars for 46 years. He is very reluctant to even talk about the crimes because he doesn’t want to make excuses. But there’s a big difference between an excuse and an explanation. An excuse will pardon one from consequences. That’s why we say, may I be excused? Nobody can excuse David Berkowitz from what he’s done. An explanation is to simply shed light on some of those precipitating factors. Broaden our knowledge database and maybe help the next guy. The facts are we have a problem in America with senseless violence, kind of violence you’re not seeing in other, other countries. So the necessity to shine a light on what’s behind this, some explanations is critical. Let me say this too, David Berkowitz is not the first serial killer that I’ve worked with. I worked with two others before David. They weren’t as notorious as him, but they both played some psychopathic games.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Kind of stuck in that psychopathy mindset. And we didn’t go very far. One of them, we went a few years. I probably hung in there longer than I should, but we reached an impasse. Couldn’t go any further. David Berkowitz’s mindset is not of such. He’s remorseful. He’s done a great deal of service behind bars for the last 35 years. He’s befriended his victims’ family members in particular, Neysa Moskowitz, the mother of Stacy, his last victim. He’s discipled or mentored 15 guys a week in the prison. He responds to mail around the world from suicidal kids. People reach out to him because they figure he’s not going to throw stones with his background. So given the fact that David’s so candid and so self-reflective and remorseful made it a little bit easier to work with him. But I can certainly empathize with those that are hearing this thinking. That’s not for me. And I get it. But I’ll tell you what, if you’re the same guy saying, that’s not for me, but you’ll listen to a podcast, read a book, or watch a movie where these guys are mythologized, that’s a little hypocritical. I would rather at least learn something from the human side of them than glorify the monster side of them.

Gabe Howard: It’s been widely reported that David Berkowitz became a born-again Christian while in in prison, and in fact, he has published many religious writings, and he has been in contact with several, you know, Christian groups and evangelical groups. Now, as a, as a man of faith, how do you make this conversion? How do you go from a serial killer, which is arguably the most evil thing our society has, to a born-again Christian, which many people believe is the pinnacle of what our society has to offer?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Well, it’s the same way that most people come to faith. It’s through another person, that God uses people. So David Berkowitz was outside January 1988, Sullivan County Prison, roaming the yard. It’s cold. It’s a cold evening. He would just go for walks. Very dark place. I mean, he’d been in prison ten years. He’s only in his 30s at the time, realizes the rest of his life is doomed. Lives with the shame and the guilt of what he did. And this inmate, a few years younger, Latino man by the name of Rick, probably about 28-29, comes up to David and says, David, Jesus loves you and forgives you. And David laughs and says, you obviously don’t know my story and what I did. And Rick persists through David’s resistance. Persistence overcomes David’s resistance. But this happens over a period of about six months. You know, they meet every, every so often in that prison yard, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. And at one point, David receives a Bible, Gideon Bible from Rick. Goes back to his cell, puts on a little light, reads it. He’d read it before, when he was in the military. He kind of had a quick run with God during his days before being a serial killer, but it was a different sort of thing. It wasn’t sincere. It was more of a religious power kick. And in his cell just starts sobbing. After reading a scripture from Psalm 34 about his crimes, and then tells Rick the next day, Rick quickly acclimates him to the Christian community in that particular prison. He calls Rick his angel.

Gabe Howard: What can we learn from David Berkowitz? And I want to let the audience know David Berkowitz does not want to be released, he says, and I quote, that he does not deserve it. And he’s been, he’s been pretty consistent about that. So I, I want to let the audience know that that what Michael’s saying is, is absolutely true. David Berkowitz is not trying to get out in any way. This isn’t part of a larger ploy. He’s honestly trying to help people and stay in prison. But even that sounds kind of I don’t know, it sounds kind of scammy, right? It’s like when you walk up to your mom and you’re like, mom, I love you so much, and I don’t I don’t deserve dessert tonight. So I understand why you took it away from me. But I love you. It I there’s a part of me, and I’m sure there’s a part of many of our listeners is like, well, is he just doing all of this to prove that he’s reformed and by, you know, doth does protest too much?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s as simple as he is looking for purpose. We all need purpose. Whether you’re an inmate locked up or a guy free roaming society, you need purpose. He’s trying to make the most of his days, trying to take the time that he has left. He’s 71 years old, arthritis all over his body. Some would say he deserves that. I understand, but he’s trying to take the minutes he has and make them useful. And to go back to another question you had asked, what do we learn from all this? The recipe for violence, are not themes that are exclusive to psychopaths. They’re themes that relate to all of your listeners themes like shame, isolation, abandonment, trauma, resentment. I mean, these are the themes that drive the drunkard to drink. They drive the heroin addict to the needle, and they even drive those with homicidal urges to murder, and some of the same factors that might lead one to drink can also lead another to pull a trigger. Let’s just pick one of the themes. Let’s pick on isolation. David Berkowitz was a very isolated individual. Now, when I say isolated, I don’t want you to think like a hermit in the woods, in a cabin with a long, shaggy beard like Ted Kaczynski. He was a New York City boy, most populated city in the country. He played on baseball teams. He was a part of the Appalachian Mountain Club. He was in the military for three years. A lot of comrades in the military. So he’s not isolated in the sense that he’s a loner in the corner. He’s more a loner in the crowd. He’s with us, but he’s not really of us.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: I think a lot of readers can relate to that kind of loneliness, that estrangement you feel even when you’re in a room with 500 people. So David knows what it means to be with people, young David, but he doesn’t know what it means to bond with people. And he’s this outsider. Now we know that a lack of proper bonding from behavioral science studies. Take a group of rodents, and you, you sample, you take one sample, 15 rodents amongst the group, and you isolate them, 15 days of isolation. You return the rodents back to the tribe. At the point of reentry, the isolated rodents will physically attack their own community because in isolation, aggression goes up, empathy goes down. We become more aggressive, less empathetic. We saw a lot of that in 2020, 2021, with all the quarantining and the isolating because of COVID-19. We also saw lots of contention on social media. Yeah, there might have been some impetuses to that like race and politics, but man, were we aggressive. And part of the reason for that is the isolation. And isolation is just one of those ingredients that it can increase aggression levels and can play a part in this recipe called violence.

Gabe Howard: I think one of the things I’m thinking about when I’m listening to you talk is I agree that that violence can go up, aggression can go up. I certainly gotten more fights with my wife during the quarantine because we were just we were. Yeah. I mean, I just not to fall down a rabbit hole. But one day I woke up in the morning and I walked downstairs and she was sitting at the kitchen table and I thought to myself, get the hell out of my house. I

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Yes.

Gabe Howard: And it’s her house, right? It’s her house, too. Like we live together. We bought it together. We’re I and I just but but that that’s what happened. But but I still have to say, Michael, I, I never thought about murdering her. And serial killers are very, very, very rare. Despite pop culture and the fact that we talk about them constantly, there’s just not that many serial killers in society. What was the spark? What pushed David Berkowitz over the edge to go from just yelling at somebody or even punching somebody to literally becoming a serial killer? There just has to be something more.

Sponsor Break

Gabe Howard: And we’re back with Michael Caparrelli, author of “Monster Mirror: 100 Hours with David Berkowitz Once Known as Son of Sam.”

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Well, you know, when you ask that question, you have to be careful for a common trap. I’m going to throw a philosophical term on your listeners. Causal reductionism. It means to take a complicated phenomenon and reduce it to one single factor. We’re pretty lazy intellectually, so we want a quick, easy answer. But looking for one factor would be like playing the game Jenga. The tower collapses and you blame the last block. I mean, the wise man knows it’s not the last block, it’s a buildup of blocks. Well, David Berkowitz, it was a buildup. Now I only I only named and defined in this conversation for the sake of time one block, isolation. When you add in other blocks, shame, abandonment, cognitive distortions, resentment. You know the serial killer is not born. It. There’s an evolution. Again, I challenge the listener, isolate for six months, brood over your resentments for six months.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Spend time beating yourself up verbally, looking in the mirror, hating what you see for six months. You’d be shocked at what you’ll evolve into. And history is on my side in this argument.You know, if you were in 1940 Germany and you were a citizen in Germany, now you’re looking back retrospectively years later, chances are you’d be ashamed of things you did or you didn’t do. You probably would not be on the right side of history. Even though when we read history, we like to empathize with the heroes and see ourselves as such, the better probability is under certain social conditions, you’d be shocked at what most people will do. There’s a potentiality for evil in all of us. It’s just an evolution. It’s a buildup. It’s a step-by-step process by which one turns into a monster.

Gabe Howard: Do you believe that that process can be reversed?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: I think it takes some serious intervention. I’m hoping this book is intervention. I mean, I can tell you, as the pastor of a church for 16 years, I work with many people. It was an urban church. People off the streets, people from addiction, people. We had a 12-step group that met every week. I’ve met many people that have told me, pastor Mike, Dr. Mike, I was at the cusp of personal and collateral destruction. I was this close to shooting up my school, to ending my life to. I had one guy admit he was going to take his life, his wife’s life and his kid’s life. So I’ve seen intervention. I know what it looks like. We don’t know. We have no way of measuring the data on how many people almost shot up a school or almost committed a crime. I think it’s really a modern idea that we are wonderful people and that that these kinds of evil acts are so far from us. The ancients would, would strongly disagree with that. In history, if you look at various points in history, you will see that the homo sapiens has you know, potential for both evil and good.

Gabe Howard: As someone who lives with bipolar disorder. As someone who’s twice divorced, as someone who screamed, I hate you at my mother, I love the redemption arc. I truly, truly do. And I am so thankful that I ran into people in support groups and people outside of my family who weren’t exhausted by my behavior, who could help me. I really, really, really, truly am. But I’m reminded of something that Stephen King wrote in his book, Mr. Mercedes. The problem is we got rid of evil. Nobody can just be evil anymore. And his point was, is sometimes there’s not a mental health reason, sometimes there’s not a social reason. Sometimes people are just evil. Are we getting too far away from the idea that some people are just evil and instead assigning everything to a systemic issue, a societal issue, a parenting issue, a neighborhood issue, a grew up with an absentee father issue. We’re looking for social reasons when the answer could be this person is evil. Now, I’m not talking about David Berkowitz specifically. I’m just saying in general, we’re always looking for that reason that somebody did something, and then that sort of morphs into an excuse more often than not. And I think it’s exhausting society and making them not want to help people. I know that was kind of a giant question, but what are your thoughts on the idea that someone can just be evil?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Oh, I don’t disagree that there is most definitely an evil that can overcome someone. When I say overcome, I don’t mean at the expense of human responsibility. We certainly open the door. We open the door in a variety of ways. I name resentment as one of them. You keep resenting and you watch that evil overtake you. Here’s the problem, Gabe, we have no problem talking about evil as long as it’s the next guy. The Duke of Milan in Shakespeare’s play, he said this thing of darkness, I acknowledge. This thing of darkness is mine. Problem is, we can say evil all day long, as long as we’re talking about our neighbor. But when we look at ourselves, we have every rationale and excuse in the book. The book “Monster Mirror,” I call it Monster Mirror because I was expecting to meet a monster and hearing David’s story, you know of who he was in the 70s, but instead I found a mirror and I realized there were a lot of parallels between him and I. And I said the words that John Bradford said in the 1700s, when they were hauling a man away to his execution, and all the town people were calling him names and calling him a scoundrel and a scum. John Bradford stood up and he said, there but for the grace of God, so go I. What he meant by that was that man right there. That man is me. So I think we’re pretty good at calling people evil. In fact, if you go on social media right now, Gabe, you’ll see a whole bunch of people putting up posts about their exes and narcissists, their bosses and narcissists. We’re doing a real good job at pointing the finger at everybody else. We’re a highly intuitive society, but we’re not that introspective. We’re very good at poking at other people. But when it comes to looking at our own evil, that’s where it gets very, very difficult for us. So yeah, I believe in an evil, but this thing of darkness, I acknowledge this thing of darkness is mine.

Gabe Howard: I love that I quoted Stephen King and you quoted Shakespeare. It just shows some basic differences between the two of us. And you’re absolutely right. In your everybody became evil. Everybody’s a narcissist. Everybody is gaslighting you. Everything is whatever the pop psychology word of the day is. So I want to ground the question a little more. And just to ask you, it seems like you genuinely and honestly believe that David Berkowitz has been reformed. Do you believe that that that the I don’t know, any number, the majority of serial killers, half of serial killers, what number of murderers and serial killers do you think can be reformed, if any?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: I would say it’s not a high percentage. But I would also say I’m going to make a broader point. This is going to annoy some listeners because it kind of shoves the mirror back in our face. I would also say the majority of people don’t change over the span of their life. We get stuck. Isaac Newton’s first law of motion. Everything stays in a state of inertia. Stagnation. It doesn’t move. It doesn’t change until there’s something from the outside that pushes it to move. It usually takes a good crisis. I mean, you know, coming out of mental health addiction, working with people with addiction, usually takes a really good crisis, some drastic circumstance to get our attention. We’re stubborn. I mean, I mean, how many times you run into people from high school, right here I am inching towards 50 years old. I meet people from like 30 years ago and it’s like nothing has changed. So our ability to change as people. We can change and redemption is possible. But man, does it take some work on our part. And does it take the grace of God, the grace of God, and the grit of man, grace and grit coming together for change to happen. So do I believe that that serial killers can change? I believe anybody can change. Will they? Is another question. We’re very stubborn, obstinate creatures, and it really takes some serious intervention for that change to happen. I believe that happened with David Berkowitz.

Gabe Howard: All of your information is so compelling, but the thing that I’m fixated on is that you believe it. I have asked you this numerous times using different words, and you believe in your heart of hearts that David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer, has absolutely changed. And you even referenced that one of the victims’ family member is in communication with him, which is just absolutely blown my mind. I, I don’t want to tell you that he hasn’t changed because I haven’t met the man. I do want to tell you that I’m skeptical. Even with this conversation, I’m just skeptical. And I imagine that many of the listeners are as well. I’d really like to give you an opportunity to explain some of the things that you have seen, and some of the reasons why you believe that David has truly changed. And sincerely, I want to ask you to, like, dig deep. I know he’s been a model prisoner. I know he does. I know he’s a born-again Christian. I know he does peer work. And some of that could just be defined as that’s just what he passes the time. Are there any are is there is there anything that’s like wow. Like that’s something I wouldn’t have expected from somebody who has been in prison? Or that’s something that I wouldn’t have expected from a convicted serial killer?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Well, let me just clear the air on this. His victim’s mother died about 20 years ago. Maybe a little less. So he formed a relationship with her. They went back and forth for a while, and then she died of cancer. Stage four. So he’s not still in contact with her, although he is in contact with other relatives of victims. Why I believe this about David Berkowitz? Let’s just take, for instance, the psychopathy characteristics. Okay? Psychopath, by the way, is not a clinical term. It’s a cultural construct. So, you know, you really can’t, you’re not going to find it in the DSM. But going so the term is sort of in flux on what exactly it means, because the culture has its hands around it, versus the clinical data. But let’s just go with what we know. Psychopaths don’t show empathy. I’ve seen David Berkowitz demonstrate empathy. He has given me access to 1,600 documents, court records, psychiatric reports, letters. I’ve seen his communications with suicidal teenagers. I’ve seen the empathy that he’s shown, his recollection of names of people, that he asked me to pray for, their stories, their struggles. Now, some could say, well, that’s an act, and I agree. Look, when they say actions is the best litmus test for character, don’t go with talk. Actions is more of a revealer than talk. That’s true. But people can put on a good act. Here’s what they can’t fake or what’s very difficult to fake. Not actions, reactions. I’ve seen David Berkowitz’s reactions over 100 hours. Reactions are actions in real time. I’ve seen him angry. One of my sessions with him. I describe it in the book I walk in. He just had an argument with another inmate and the inmate said something degrading and David was in bad head space.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: I watched how he regulated that anger. I watched the man rather than externalize which when people get angry, they typically externalize as people, places things. I’m pissed at the system, whoever. It’s always the outside. Instead of externalizing, he self reflects, and we go down a road of introspection and uncover what’s going on inside of him. I mean, his ability to do that when he’s angry. The reaction watching it to me was a marvel. You know, they say psychopaths can’t take responsibility. Well, when you get to the end of this book, I’m not going to tell the details. There’s a chapter called Shocking Confession. David confesses a lie. And let me tell you, I can’t get the average guy in my office as a pastor to admit they lied about something petty. Never mind something major. There’s an unfolding on how that happened, but David Berkowitz owns something that he didn’t have to own. He could have easily skated away. But once again, he’s demonstrating through these reactions. Not just actions, reactions, a change of character. Now, some will say it’s a jailhouse conversion. Listen, I know jailhouse conversions. I’ve dealt with inmates. They last about 3 to 6 months, and it’s usually right before a parole hearing. David Berkowitz has been acting, quote unquote, this way for 35 years. Very difficult to maintain a jailhouse conversion for 35 years. So consistency, time, up close proximity, studying reactions over actions. All these things tell me that this man, I’m not saying he should be released, but has experienced a true change of heart.

Gabe Howard: Michael, I’m just curious, if you became the warden or in charge of the parole board, would you let David Berkowitz out? Would you parole him?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: You know, I know we like clear answers, but I am so ambivalent with this question. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked it, and I go back and forth in my head. I can’t give you a solid answer on that. Let me say it this way. If it was on the criteria that he would ever hurt someone again, if that was the single criteria on which we made a decision and releasing him? I’d say release him. If it was on more complicated criteria like what is your definition of justice? What message does it communicate socially to the families? Is it good for David’s mental health after being institutionalized for 46 years? Is it good for society as a whole when you bring up these more complex issues? I have to say no. If it’s strictly based on the single criteria, will he hurt again? I have to say yes.

Gabe Howard: Thank you so much for being honest and your candor, and of course, for being here. Now, your book, “Monster Mirror: 100 hours with David Berkowitz, Once Known as Son of Sam,” is out now. Where can folks find you online to learn more?

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Well, you can go on my Facebook page. I put up teachings on mental health all the time. Just look up Mike, M I K E Caparrelli C A P A R R E L L I. I’m maxed out on friends. You know the allowance on Facebook, but you can you can follow me or you can go on Amazon, Barnes & Noble. Get the Kindle version of the book, get it in paperback, get it in Spanish. I don’t even want to try to pronounce in the Spanish title, but if you know if Spanish is your primary language, just type in Monster Mirror in Spanish and it’ll come up. And yeah, you can get a copy today. Usually Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the best bet.

Gabe Howard: Thank you so much for being here.

Dr. Michael Caparrelli: Thank you, Gabe. It’s been excellent.

Gabe Howard: Oh, you’re very welcome, Michael. And I want to give a great big thank you to all of our listeners. My name is Gabe Howard, and I am an award winning public speaker. And I could be available for your next event. I also wrote the book “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations,” which you can get on Amazon. However, you can get a signed copy with free show swag or learn more about me just by heading over to gabehoward.com. Wherever you downloaded this episode, please follow or subscribe to the show. It is absolutely free and you don’t want to miss a thing. And hey, listen up! Can you do me a favor? Recommend the show. Share in a support group, share it on social media. Send somebody a text message. Send somebody an email. Mention it at your next outing because sharing the show is how we’re going to grow. I will see everybody next Thursday on Inside Mental Health.

Announcer: You’ve been listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast from Healthline Media. Have a topic or guest suggestion? E-mail us at show@psychcentral.com. Previous episodes can be found at psychcentral.com/show or on your favorite podcast player. Thank you for listening.